Moray tourism chief Laurie Piper urges public to stick by the rules after Covid-19 fears trigger booking cancellations
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MORAY'S tourism chief has urged businesses and individuals to do everything in their power to help stop Covid-19 transmission after seeing some worried tourists cancel their bookings.
Scotland is due to move to level two on May 17. Moray, however, is at risk of being stuck with level three restrictions for longer if Covid-19 infection rates aren't brought down.
Laurie Piper, Visit Moray Speyside chief executive, warned that local businesses were already being hit by rising levels of Covid-19 and fears the region could be subject to tougher restrictions than the rest of the country.
He said: "We've seen a few cancellations through two or three different sectors of tourism – self-catering, hotel and activity – which is of concern.
"But these cancellations have been predicated on speculation on social media rather than fact.
"We are talking about Moray being unable to move into level two along with the rest of the country – not the prospect of a local lockdown.
"For our tourism industry this isn’t a hypothetical problem possibly a few weeks down the road, it is hitting their bookings and bottom line already."
Mr Piper said people across the region have to play their part in suppressing the virus by following the rules.
He added: "It isn’t just the potentially serious health implications – there is already an impact on jobs and people’s livelihoods.
"Almost 3000 people in Moray are directly employed in the tourism sector. We need to get the numbers down so as not to put those jobs at further risk.
"If you break the guidelines you might spread the virus, and that is bad enough, but ultimately you might cost someone their job or business."
He added: "It is very definitely the case that Moray is still a safe and secure place for people to visit.
"But it is absolutely critical that we as business owners, operators and individuals do everything that we can to minimise the risk of infection and to see these figures drop."
Moray now has 81.4 cases per 100,000. East Dunbartonshire has the second highest at 41.4, while neighbouring Aberdeenshire and Highland are at 11.